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February 16, 2011



We also owe the language of the King James Bible to the genius of Tyndale, and Tyndale was writing with the intent of bringing the Bible to laypeople for reading and understanding. He wasn’t aiming for highflown language but simplicity. The language is strange to us, I suspect, because Tyndale and the scholars who came after him to produce the King James version had a feeling for the English language and rhetoric that is foreign to today’s biblical scholars, however well-meaning. The style also speaks well for the target audience of the time, especially when you consider the childish level at which some "modern translations" are written.

I like my Douai Catholic Bible, too, (my edition published with the approval of Cardinal Spellman, no less).

John Petty

I keep getting Tyndale and Wycliff confused. Wasn't Tyndale the one who wound up getting burned at the stake?

The Douai Bible is OK for one that's based in Latin. (I never could understand peoples' affection for Latin. To me, Latin seems clunky and unwieldy.)


Tyndale was burned at the stake, although not in England. Wycliffe died of natural causes, remarkably enough. The scholars who produced the KJV used his translation, also.

There's a long article on the KJV in the current London Review of Books by Diarmaid MacCulloch but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

John Petty

I'm going to check that article. I just read a book by MacCulloch which was pretty good.

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